Monthly archives "January 2015"

Annie ****


Run Time: 118 mins     Cert: PG
Synopsis: Jamie Foxx and Quvenzhané Wallis star in a quirky present day remake of the 1980 classic “Annie”.
Annie (Quvenzhane Wallis) is a 10 year old girl living in a New York foster home. Unhappy and hoping her parents will come and get her, Annie spends a lot of time wandering around the city. While doing this she is rescued from an oncoming truck by politician and business tycoon Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx). With encouragement from his staff, Stacks invites Annie to live with him on a temporary basis to boost his campaign.
The film is both entertaining and fun. Although it bears similarities to the original, there are differences that make the 2014 version more relatable to the present day viewer including the modernisation of the songs and the writers adding comedy to the story.
Quvenzhane Wallis is both likeable and comic as the lead character. She works well with other cast members and gives a good musical performance. Jamie Foxx and Rose Byrne also give enjoyable performances as likeable characters the viewer will root for. While Cameron Diaz is pleasant to watch, her version of Miss Hannigan is more comic and less intimidating than the original.
The soundtrack is enjoyable with the songs having been updated to appeal to younger viewers whilst remaining true to those featured in the 1980 version. There are also three new songs that have been written specifically for the movie. “Opportunity” in particular shows Quvenzhane’s vocal range while “The City’s Yours” gives a fun and upbeat view of a businessman’s fantasies.
Overall, “Annie” is a great remake that will appeal to the whole family.
Reviewed by Lesley Logan

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) *****


Run Time: 119mins           Cert: 15

Synopsis: A washed-up actor (Keaton), who once played an iconic superhero, battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career and himself in the days leading up to the opening of his Broadway play.

Birdman is a one trick pony of a movie, what a trick it is. A film that follows actors about before the official opening of a Broadway show does not sound that enthralling, but it is. 

The reason for this could be to do with the writing of the characters, who are all deeply flawed but it is hard not to care for everyone of them.

Iñárritu’s Birdman features an amazing cast of talented actors. Michael Keaton is perfectly cast as Riggan Thomson, a character trying to come out of the shadows after being only remembered of playing a superhero. At times the portrayal almost seems autobiographical. Emma Stone plays his daughter with a powerful and touching performance. The funniest characters are Edward Norton’s self obsessed schizophrenic drunk thespian and Zach Galifianakis’ neurotic and nutty producer.

Stunningly shot with mad camera angles and a crazy jazz infused soundtrack. Plus it somehow manages to feel like it has been shot in one continuous take, even though that would be realistically impossible to do. 
A dark comedy which is incredibly clever, unique and completely original.

Reviewed by Lesley Logan